ADAPT Program -- Accent on Developing Abstract Processes of Thought


Date of this Version

March 1978


Like most English teachers I have been skeptical of schemes to reform the teaching of literature and composition. Our experience suggests that for the most part our successes are likely to result from the intangibles of personal styles, developed empirically through classroom practice. As Ross Winterowd has written, "One can only conclude that writing is far too difficult a skill to be taught—and yet we do teach it.” (1975, p.2) Nevertheless, I seized the opportunity to join the ADAPT Program because it seemed to offer a more thoroughly articulated theoretical basis for teaching and learning than I had previously experienced. The program was particularly attractive because it provided a context within which one could proceed intelliqently from the insight that what we do is not so much to teach writing or critical reading as to stimulate students to develop their capacities to write effectively and read critically. In the crucial matter of providing an environment favorable for learning, the ADAPT staff would be guided by Jean Piaget’s theories of human intellectual development. Within the diversity of courses we would offer, we would try to provide a more coherent structure of experiences than students usually encounter at a large public university. I expected no miracles. I foresaw, nevertheless, a promising setting in which the general intellectual maturity of students miqht be enhanced, and thus their particular capacities as readers and writers as well.